Ulster Bank operating losses rise to over £1bn
OPERATING losses at Ulster Bank rose to £1.04bn for 2012 compared with £984m in 2011.
The bank, which is owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, said its financial performance was hit by the general challanges in the Irish economy in 2012.
But it also said there were some signs of improvement at the end of the year including availability of institutional funding and a stabilisation of the residential property market.
The bank reported an operating profit, before impairment losses, of £324m – lower than the £400m reported in 2011.
Bank chief executive Jim Brown said that it will continue to work with any customers who are experiencing difficulty and who engage with the bank on a ''genuine basis.''
Meanwhile, RBS reported stronger underlying profits on Thursday, potentially opening the way for the British government to start selling its 82pc stake and for payment of a dividend.
The bank was rescued in a €45.5bn bailout during the 2008 financial crisis and Britain is now looking at ways to sell off its holding as RBS starts to return to financial health.
"The light at the end of the tunnel is coming closer," Chief Executive Stephen Hester said. "Our job is to deliver a company that is doing its job well and that other investors will want to invest in." He said the clean-up of the bank should be much more evident into 2014.